Teaching and Advising Philosophy

Our ability to practice science hinges on the sponsorship afforded by public (taxpayer), or private (industry) support. Hence, it is incumbent on us to pay back to society in the form of education and dissemination. In other words, I expect to work with you to further your education, and I expect all advisees to present the results of their work at national meetings, and ultimately publish results in refereed journals. Preparation of a publishable manuscript (or several such manuscripts, in the case of a PhD) is demanding, but personally rewarding, a robust learning experience, and ultimately incumbent upon us as scientists and funding recipients.

I emphasize study of rock/sediment data in all class and research projects. For my advisees, I emphasize a field or core (if subsurface) component to their research. Many students will progress to employment that requires geologic interpretation based on remotely sensed images or models of rock data; accordingly, students must gain experience with real rock data.

Special Note to Prospective Graduate Students

I am particularly interested in students who have a passion for the geosciences, are fascinated by Earth, and want to contribute knowledge that — ideally– enables us to live more sustainably on our planet. Our University, our College, the School of Geosciences — and I personally–  emphasize inclusion for all. I have worked with students in field sites spanning many regions, but have also worked with students on material from subsurface cores. If you are interested in using sedimentary geology to address questions about “deep-time” paleoclimate, the geologic record and Earth system effects of atmospheric aerosols (dust), the carbon cycle, relationships between climate and weathering, reading tectonic events from the sedimentary record, or allied subdisciplines, please contact me. Future projects will address climatic reconstructions, and tectonic-climatic interactions in equatorial Pangaea, atmospheric dust as a climatic archive and agent in the Pangaean supercontinent, climate change at various scales during the late Paleozoic icehouse and icehouse collapse, climatic controls on chemical and physical weathering, and origins and implications of loess and dust in the Earth System. I expect my students to have a passion for learning about and understanding the Earth System. I will guide you to work on topics leading to publishable research, and I will mentor you to publish your results. My goals are to educate students to 1— think critically and broadly as a geoscientist and educator, 2— contribute to our knowledge of the planet,  and 3— graduate as a well- and broadly trained geoscientist interested in both Earth’s past and its future, and capable of employment in a variety of organizations (government, academia, industry). The planet and our environment face intense pressures. Beginning with an education in geosciences will prepare you well whether you wish to pursue work in teaching (at all levels), research, industry, law, science communication (writing, journalism, art), or other pursuits.

Courses Taught

I regularly teach upper-division undergraduate and graduate-level courses in Earth’s Past Climate (co-taught with Dr. Shannon Dulin), Carbonates & Sequence Stratigraphy, and Depositional Systems & Stratigraphy. The latter two courses involve a substantial fieldtrip to world-class outcrops in the Sacramento and Guadalupe Mountains (pictured above) of New Mexico and West Texas. I also teach Introductory Geology, and seminars on various topics in sedimentary geology.